We reject the National LGBTQ Task Force’s apology statement for inviting Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take up space and present at the 2016 Creating Change Conference. ICE should not have been invited in the first place. LGBTQ immigrants are profiled, terrorized and deported by ICE on a daily basis. Transgender undocumented women continue to face emotional, sexual, and physical transphobic torture inside detention centers. For example, Christina Lopez is a trans undocumented women from Peru that has been locked up in a detention center for almost two years now by the same agency that the Task Force invited to be part of Creating Change. ICE officials have continually refused and denied our requests to meet with grassroots LGBTQ immigrant rights advocates and in particular with trans undocumented women who have been detained by ICE.
The communities that are most impacted by deportations are being forgotten, neglected and left behind by conferences like Creating Change.
We are putting our bodies and facing arrests at actions and using the very little resources we have for organizing and advocacy efforts with almost no support from mainstream LGBTQ organizations. When we shout “Not1More” we are demanding an end to all the ICE raids, the release of all LGBTQ undocumented immigrants from detention centers, and an end to ALL deportations. Our people are clear on our strategy and demands for a moratorium on all raids and deportations; things that go beyond immigration reform.
The National LGBTQ Task Force and Creating Change have caused significant harm and have deeply hurt our community. We have a right to feel outraged at the negligence and poor planning in inviting ICE to be part of a space that supposedly centers all LGBTQ people. To that end we are laying out initial thinking and demands from our community as follows:
Include a “Fighting Against Deportations” plenary with trans immigrant leaders;
Make space available on the agenda to include more LGBTQ immigrant rights workshops; and,
Ensure all LGBTQ undocumented immigrant attendees are supported financially throughout the conference (meals, lodging, registration, travel, etc).